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The impact of a tailored dietary intervention coupled with oral rehabilitation on the nutritional status of older patients

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  • Full or part time
    Dr G McKenna
    Prof J Woodside
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description


A poor diet has been shown to be important in patients developing a range of diseases, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Different factors influence patients’ food choices, including income levels, education and living circumstances. However, dental health including the numbers of remaining natural teeth can also be important. As patients get older and lose their teeth they tend to move towards a softer diet composed of foods they find easier to chew. Unfortunately this often means that many patients avoid important things such as fruit, vegetables and meat which can lead to low levels of vitamins, minerals and fibre in their diets. Unfortunately, simply giving patients new teeth or dentures is not enough for them to break these habits and change their diet.

This study aims to test if providing tailored diet advice focused on creating healthy eating habits, in combination with replacing missing teeth can have a positive impact on the diets of older patients. All the patients in the study will receive dental treatment to replace their missing natural teeth. Half of the patients will then receive help and support to improve their diet, whilst the remainder will receive an information leaflet on healthy diets only. The patients will be asked to fill in surveys asking them about their knowledge of nutrition, their satisfaction with food and their oral health and they will repeat these three times: at the start of the project, after two months and after six months. They will also be asked to record their food choices during the study using food diaries and surveys. In addition, blood samples will be taken during the study to measure levels of a variety of vitamins and nutrients. The information from the two groups will be compared to test if the healthy habits dietary advice and counselling has resulted in any improvements for that patient group compared to those who did not receive the healthy habits intervention.


Candidates should have or expect to obtain a 2:1 or higher Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant biomedical or life sciences subject.

English Language

Candidates applying from countries where the first language is not English should produce evidence of their competence through a qualification such as IELTS or TOEFL score.

The minimum recommended score for the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Science is:
• IELTS score of 6.0 with not less than 5.5 in each of the four component elements of listening, reading, speaking and writing taken within the last 2 years;
• TOEFL score of 80+ (internet basted test), taken within the last 2 years, with minimum component scores of; Listening 17, Reading 18, Speaking 20, Writing 17);
• A valid Certificate of Proficiency in English grade A or B;
• A valid Certificate of Advanced English grade A; or
• A first or upper second class honours degree from a university based in the UK, Republic of Ireland or other suitably quality assured location in a country deemed by the UK Border Agency to be majority English speaking.

For a list of English Language qualifications also accepted by the School and University please see the following link:

The English Language Unit (ELU) offers both pre-sessional and in-sessional courses in English for academic purposes and study skills. Courses vary in length and full information can be obtained from the ELU

Funding Notes


DEL Research Studentships

Eligibility for both fees and maintenance (£14,057 for 2015/16, 2016/17 TBC) depends on the applicants being either an ordinary UK resident or those EU residents who have lived permanently in the UK for the 3 years immediately preceding the start of the studentship.

Non UK residents who hold EU residency may also apply but if successful may receive fees only.

For further details re eligibility criteria (including academic, citizenship and residency criteria) please click on the following link:


Please visit the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Centre for Public Health, website for further details about the Centre:

When applying, please choose 'MEDICINE' as your subject area/School.

Related Subjects

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